Preparing for chicks – notes

By : | 0 Comments | On : April 14, 2016 | Category : Chickens, Garden Livestock

Preparing for chicks
There has been some talk on the internet, people looking for broody hens to hatch eggs. So here are some notes of things to think about.
• A broody hen will generally look after chicks when born.
• She will not be able to protect the chicks from the other birds, so they will need to be protected by separation from the flock. A broody hutch and run which is sheltered is important.
• A place indoors with a lamp for heat is a good idea especially if it is still spring, and you have an early broody.
• You will probably get a chick every now and again that is deformed and needs despatching.
• Are you ready for a lot of males? If you only hatch 6, it is not unusual to get 4 cocks. Are you prepared to despatch unwanted males, or swap or give them away, or grow them for food?
• Start chicks on chick crumb, you can buy medicated chick crumb but generally, for a few backyard hens in a well-run clean site it is not considered to be so important to vaccinate against Salmonella or Marek’s disease.
• Make sure the water is clean – they always poo in it! Put some pebbles in the container so they can’t drown in the water.
• If you decide to use an incubator:
Buy one with a kite mark, lots of stories about ones setting on fire or failing.
Don’t try to use a really old one, modern ones are much better.
The best eggs come from local sources – mailed eggs can sometimes be troublesome.
• Bringing in hens from outside your flock can sometimes introduce disease.
• At point of lay (22 weeks) give your birds an anti coccidiant treatment.


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